“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” ~ Winston Churchill
Taking a stand always has a cost associated with it. The question is: “Are you willing to pay the price for standing up for what’s right?” Some costs are financial, some costs can involve social status, sometimes our pride will take the hit, and in other cases relationships will pay the price. It’s easy to take a stand when there is little risk involved, but it’s a whole different ballgame when the stakes are high. Here’s one Old Testament example of being willing to pay a high price for taking a stand:
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18 NLT)
It takes bravery to take a stand. Putting your career, your wealth or even your life on the line are some of the highest stakes to be paid in taking a stand for what you know is right. With the freedoms we enjoy in the United States of America, it’s hard to relate to the costs associated with taking a stand that our brothers and sisters in other countries face each day. That is not to say we can’t be challenged to take a stand that could cost us dearly even in the land of the free.
I often think of the contrast in Peter’s actions on the night he denied knowing Jesus. Just an hour or so earlier, Peter cut off the ear of a centurion in the presence of a company of Roman soldiers. In one instance, he put his life on the line to take a stand for Jesus yet an hour later he denied knowing Him to a small group of common citizens. Sometimes we can be more willing to die for Christ than we are to live for Him. We quit taking a stand when the cost seems too high.
Notice this phrase in the passage from Daniel: “…the God whom we serve is able to save us…But even if he doesn’t…” Taking a stand has no guarantee of a favorable outcome in the short term. God’s purpose is played out in the context of eternity. There are plenty of examples in Scripture and throughout history of God honoring the stand taken and the price paid many years after the person took a stand. Many did not live to see the fruit of their sacrifice.
As Christian leaders, we must be brave and willing to pay the price of taking a stand. This is where living a legacy begins.